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Jaguars fall to Appleton North at home

By Josh Staloch

ASHWAUBENON – For most of three quarters Thursday night on its home field, the Ashwaubenon football team was leading Appleton North.

The Jaguars were having fun and looking good doing it, but disaster struck late in the third when Ashwaubenon (0-2) quarterback Cadian Vang, who had done a great job to put his team up 24-21, left the field after injuring his left knee on a third-down scramble.

The Lightning took advantage – scoring on their ensuing possession in a 38-31 Fox Valley Classic Conference victory over the Jaguars.

“We were much improved from last week,” said Ashwaubenon head coach Brian Ryczkowski, whose team lost 62-20 to Pulaski in Week 1. “We cleaned lots of things up, and we played closer to our ability tonight. Coach Ted (Velicer) has been doing a great job with our offensive line and our backs in the run game. We had some success on the ground tonight, and that opened things up for our passing game.”

Tied 7-7 to start the second quarter, the Jaguars got a boost from their defense on a fourth-down stop that set them up at their own 14.

Vang advanced the ball with a nice pass to Jacob O’Neil out to the North 48.

A few plays later, Vang took to the air again, this time, finding Kaeden Turnbull in the corner of the end zone for a 14-7 lead after the extra point.

Ashwaubenon’s defense came up big again on the Lightning’s next possession, forcing a fumble, which resulted in a Micky Kiernan 26-yard field goal and a 17-14 lead at the break.

The Jaguars got a defensive stop to begin the second half and took over at its 1-yard line.

After grinding its way out of trouble, Ashwaubenon got a spectacular run from Connor Ramage, who broke through the line and rumbled his way downfield for an 81-yard score.

North answered with a deep pass play of its own when quarterback Matthew Schecklman connected with Alex Heran for a touchdown on second down.

The injury to Vang happened on Ashwaubenon’s next drive.

The Lightning then proceeded to go ahead, 28-24, with a long run on first down from Cal Martine.

Doing his best in a tough situation, Jaguars quarterback Boone Krist made several plays in relief of Vang, including a sharp pass to Luke Schroeder that went for a score late in the game.

Ashwaubenon will face another tough challenge Friday, April 9, when it hosts Kimberly.

“Our approach as a team is to worry about ourselves,” said Ryczkowski. We know who we’re playing, but we have to approach that game as if they were a nameless, faceless opponent. If we can do what we’re coached to do, we’ve got a chance against anybody. We’ve got three tough opponents to start the season, but I’m excited because I think, as a program, we’re getting better.”

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